Purpose – Nowadays the worker is the most important production factor for knowledge organisations, and thus Corporate Real Estate Managers (CREM) must focus on supporting employees. Modern work environments must be designed to meet their preferences for satisfaction and leveraging talent. But the way employees experience and use the office environment depends on national culture, so implementing a new work environment might require different strategies in different countries. This paper describes research into employee preferences regarding work activities and the work environment in 5 European countries, and the implications of differences that came forward.Design/methodology/approach –Based on literature, hypotheses are formulated about the importance of different activities in and features/facilities of the modern work environment. These are tested with the Leesman database, from which 32,006 employee questionnaires from Sweden, the Netherlands, Great Britain, France and Germany were selected. The data are analysed with principal component analyses and Chi Square or F- Tests to study differences between the importance the employees in these 5 countries attached to 21 workplace activities, 19 workplace features and 18 workplace facilities.Findings – With regard to activities, the Germans value interaction activities, while the Dutch and Swedish employees mention collaboration activities as most important. With regard to workplace features/facilities, the French and Germans find it most important to be able to work place independent, while the Swedish care extra about meeting areas. Building services are only important to British employees. More differences between the countries are discussed, after relating the workplace components to the important activities.Implications –The results of this study make clear, that a one-size-fits-all concept is not always the best way for multinationals to support your employees.Originality value – Previous studies focused on employee satisfaction with the work environment that is offered (pre/post move) or asked designers about influence of culture. In this paper we actually ask employees what their preferences are, regardless of the current work environment. It is the first study that compares and tests differences between preferences of European employees on this scale, and also to study these preferences for the work environment in relation to preferences for certain activities and compare countries.